WILTON –State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) recently visited the manufacturing facility operated by ASML in Wilton. ASML, which styles itself “your favorite tech company’s favorite tech company,” operates the 296,604 square-foot facility at 77 Danbury Rd.
The factory designs and manufactures high-value modules and optical components for ASML, which is a company based in the Netherlands that delivers hardware, software and services used by all the world’s top chipmakers to mass produce patterns on silicon. At the Wilton facility that employs 1,300 people, engineers manufacture and devote significant research and development to extreme ultraviolet lithography, which is ASML’s patterning technology that enables the creation of thinner circuits on microchips, allowing for smaller chips that hold more data. These microchips are used by companies worldwide to make common electronic devices like smartphones, computers, and vehicle controls.
Rep. Lavielle toured the facility with Bill Amalfitano, General Manager and Vice President of the Wilton Factory, and Vic Crudo, Director of the Wilton Factory, Assembly, and Test. She learned about how ASML uses lithography – a critical manufacturing step in defining the structures that form the electrical circuits on a chip – to shrink transistors on microchips. She also toured the tightly-controlled “cleanroom” of the facility, where engineers work on critical sub-systems and components shipped to the Netherlands for integration into ASML’s immersion and EUV lithography systems, and metrology tools.
“While many Connecticut businesses have struggled in the past decade, ASML’s steady and consistent growth in Wilton and continuing ability to create so many jobs is a fascinating success story that intrigued me,” said Rep. Lavielle. “At the same time, ASML actually has difficulty finding enough qualified engineers, advanced machinists, and other technological professionals to fill its employment needs. It is a perfect example of the type of company that our technical schools, community colleges, and universities should be actively working with to develop curricula and programs that prepare students for available jobs with excellent long-term career prospects.”
ASML maintains relationships with several local colleges including UConn, Fairfield University and Norwalk Community College, engaging in joint university research projects and student intern programs. It also partners with the Connecticut Pre-Engineering Program (CPEP) to promote STEM education to middle school students.
“The state Departments of Labor, Education, and Higher Education need to work more closely together to ensure that our educational system is meeting the recruitment needs of businesses in Connecticut and thus helping our students build careers here,” said Rep. Lavielle, who is Ranking Member of the legislature’s Education Committee. “We have just passed a fully bipartisan bill, HB 5448, in the Education Committee that requires tighter, better documented collaboration on this front, and I hope that it will move these efforts forward faster. Aligning educational programs and workforce needs should be a key element in any plan to attract and retain businesses and restore Connecticut’s economy.
“ASML is unique in its field and a force in our local community and in our state. I look forward to working with the company to help strengthen its relationships with our educational institutions and to ensure that our state makes available to ASML the best possible human resources and a climate where it can continue to thrive for years to come,” added Rep. Lavielle.